The Monrovia Rotary Club on Friday, July 12, 2019, launched a year-long campaign aimed to drastically reduce pregnant women living with HIV from transmitting the virus to their unborn and born children. The exercise was held at a resort in Monrovia with an initial and projected budget of US$5,000.
The project, under the theme, “HIV Mother to Child Transmission Prevention Awareness,” will be piloted at the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town, and might extend to other health centers, basically in slum communities in Monrovia.
Rotarians from Monrovia and Sinkor, among them former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, former Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper, former Finance Minister David Farhat, Former Monrovia City Mayor Ophelia Hoff Saytumah, initiated the campaign by purchasing tickets for a raffle draw in support of the exercise, which was headed by the newly inducted president, Rotarian Wilson Idahor.
The newly inducted spokesperson, Rotarian Christine Brooks-Jarret, said the Rotary Club of Monrovia planned to develop visual and audio awareness messages to be shared through the various media outlets, including radio, television, Facebook and WhatsApp, and other social media outlets to encourage pregnant women on the need to get tested for HIV, and how to also prevent transmission of the virus to their unborn children.
An estimated between 500 to 1000 children were infected with HIV due to mother-to-child transmission.
“The HIV and AIDS epidemic is a significant public health and development problem in the country. The primary modes of HIV transmission in Liberia and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa are heterosexual contact and perinatal transmission; although blood transfusion, medical transmission, and use of dirty injectable needles still occur. Without appropriate interventions, the risk of transmission, including mother-to-child transmission will continue to the next generation,” the UNAIDS, Liberia Country report said, as contained in the program sheet.
In his message, the Rotarian president Idahor said through the awareness, the Club will also underwrite quick-impact community projects, and therefore, challenged Rotarians, who are more than two living in the same community to submit project proposals.
“There are people who need help, and we need to give them our help, not because we have money, but because we have to serve above ourselves,” Idahor said.
Rotary objectives are to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service; high standards in business and professions, the application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life, and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
The inducted officials
Those who were also inducted over the weekend are Rotarians Wilson Idahor, president; David Frankfort, vice president; Francis Karpeh, president-elect 2020-/2021; Veda Ayele Nyoth Simpson secretary; Emile Sam-Peal, treasurer; Mai Bright Urey, sergeant-at-arms; and immediate past president Rotarian Philip C. Parker, IV.
The Board of Directors include Rotarians Wede Elliott-Brownell, club administration; Jemel Liverpool, service projects; Victoria Cooper-Enchia, Rotary Foundation; Tukus Ama Harris, youth service; Wede Precious Dennis, membership; and Christine Brooks-Jarret, public relations officer.
Meanwhile, Rotarian Parker said a hospital oxygen plant, which generates pure oxygen in bulk amount for respiration, which was purchased at US$200,000, has been constructed at the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville, and is on test.
Parker said that the plant will be finally dedicated at the end of August, this year.
Rotarian Idahor then extended gratitude to members of the Rotary Club of Monrovia for the confidence the Club reposed in him by electing him to serve for the Rotarian year that runs from July to July of each year.
Earlier, the induction officer, Rotarian Oswald Tweh, challenged the newly elected leadership to formulate programs to make a difference that would benefit the communities, and bring back “backsliding” Rotarians.
Rotarian Tweh encouraged the Monrovia Club to tackle communities which are flooded in addition to the HIV transmission awareness.
The club was founded and chartered in 1964 and was re-chartered in 2000 at the height of the country’s civil war.